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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 3/3/2002 5:31:23 PM EDT
A good scope is a pleasure. A bad one is a pain in the ass.

Today I went shooting and gave both of my cheap scopes a good workout and a good analysis of how they actually perform.

These were both used on an A1 style AR-15.

Here's what they did:

4X Leaper's: Compact size, looks at home on an AR-15 with carrying handle. Decent image, HORRIBLE diopter adjustment, as I noticed when I turned the ring to tweak the focus and the whole image moved around like a bad dream. Insufficient clearance from the back of the scope over the top of the rear sight, resulting in a slight downward tilt to the scope that wouldn't zero out without using the BDC for the job, thereby making the BDC nearly useless for its intended purpose. Repeatability of zero when removing/reinstalling the scope was horrible. Off by six inches at fifty yards.

The windage and elevation adjustments do seem to be consistent and reliable, though. Shoot for zero. Six clicks right, shoot. Six up, shoot. Six left, shoot. Six left, shoot. Six down, shoot. Six down, shoot. Six right, shoot. Six right, shoot. Six
up, shoot. Six left, shoot. Makes a nice 3x3 box, as it should, with two touching in the middle. That is satisfactory performance.

Once mounted, zeroed, and focused (focus is stable), it did fine. I got groups at 100 yards that are the apparent limit of my ammo's performance.

It'd be OK if I wanted to just leave it on the rifle forever and never bother it...except for the clearance problem over the rear sight.

The other scope is a cheap line Bushnell 3x9 50mm model. A full sized scope. The mount (not provided by Bushnell) is better than the scope. Decent repeatability of zero. The scope itself, though...it's practically useless at more than about 6X. The perfect focus plane is so narrow that it's hard to keep the image focused, and it gets worse at higher magnifications. Having to move your head back and forth to get perfect focus and trying to maintain a proper cheek weld and other details just doesn't work for me.
That being said, though, if you ARE in the sweet spot behind the scope, the image, even at 9X, is sharp and clear. But it's too hard to stay there!

Windage and elevation were very unreliable and not very repeatable. The Leaper's scope is better in this respect. The 3x3 box test resulted in a mess.

So, I'm tired of blowing money on cheap scopes. What's a GOOD one for range duty at up to maybe 200 yards, for now? I'd like to keep it fairly inexpensive, but I will pay for a scope that doesn't suffer from the flaws I've mentioned.

Requirements: Mounts to A1 upper, via Weaver rings or integral mount. Capable of at least 4X magnification. Doesn't have to be variable. 6X fixed would probably be ideal for me. Must be stable, repeatable, and fairly rugged. Size is not an issue. Large or small, doesn't matter.

CJ


Link Posted: 3/3/2002 5:35:18 PM EDT
This easy. Leupold. Nikon. Pentax. That's just for starters.
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 5:39:01 PM EDT
I'll second Nikon Monarch series scopes.

www.riflescopes.com
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 5:43:00 PM EDT
Lt. Col. Norm Chandler (Death From Afar books and Iron Brigade Armory) once told me "Only a rich man can afford cheap scopes."

Any scope mounted on a carry handle is too far from the bore to be effective. It is too high, creats a stock weld problem and causes the shooter to strain his neck to acheive satisfactory eye relief.

That being said, if you're looking for a good scope, sink 1K into a Leupold variable power mounted on a flattop upper and you'll be happy.
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 5:45:58 PM EDT
I have been VERY pleased with even the less-expensive Leopold scopes. they are fairly tough to. (im DAMN picky when it comes to scopes)
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 5:46:55 PM EDT
IOR either fixed at 4x 6x lighted or not
2.5 to 10x excellent scopes
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 6:09:19 PM EDT
I have a leupold varix II 3-9x on a remington 700 (what a deal! rifle + scope for only 500 dollars). and it works great. Wheather its at 3x or 9x the target is always clearly visible... heck the simmons spotting scope at the range is like crap compared to the leupold... it gave me a habit of using the riflescope as a spotting scope instead. After sighting in the rifle the thing is accurate, if only I could somehow fine-tune my shooting technique (is there a marksmen school??)
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 6:31:19 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 6:51:31 PM EDT
I bought my first Leupold in 1978 when I was 16. I had already looked through enough cheap scopes to decide that if I couldn't get a good one I would rather do without.

You can't go wrong with a Leupold. I am sure there are specific models of Nikon, Weaver, etc. that are good, but I don't know which ones they are. Leupold doesn't make any bad scopes so you can just get the Vari-X II, or III model that you like without worry.

Other than Leupold I like Zeiss, Swarovski, Kahles (division of Swarovski).
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 6:55:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Schnert:
Any scope mounted on a carry handle is too far from the bore to be effective. It is too high, creats a stock weld problem and causes the shooter to strain his neck to acheive satisfactory eye relief.



If you've got a carry handle and don't have $1000 for a "Looo-Poled", then what?

The carry handle option can work if you don't keep messing with removing the scope.
The scope doesn't have to be expensive, either.
For target shooting at the range, a 'good' TASCO, Simmons, or whatever you can scrape up at a show, and some judicious taping and black matte paint will work just fine.
The end result is getting a closer view, not necessarily having to dump the high $$$ or do without.
In defense of the cheap scope and mount, I rest my case...
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 7:07:53 PM EDT
I believe that the best quality optics per dollar spent belong to NIKON. I do not personally own one, and my preference runs to Leupold/USO/Nightforce, but I have used their scopes under varying conditions and believe them deserving of the title "Best Buy".
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 7:21:28 PM EDT
What BusMaster said is sorta right IMHO. Everyone badmouths cheap optics, but I have used Tascos and Bushnells with some success. They are fine for "on the range" use. I have an old Redfield 3-9 that's nice too. Frankly I am surprised at how much you get on some relatively cheap scopes. NOT Leapers, the lowest of the Tascos, the lowest of the Bushnells. But their higher lines are not too bad for range/plinking use.
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 7:36:59 PM EDT
BusMaster007,

The mounting isn't everything. Internals often make or break a scope. Brass or steel? Sure, I knew a competitor who praised Trashco's... until he shot one for a season.

I'll put a Leupold up against a Tasco anyday.

I generally shoot with iron-sights. However, when I use a scope it's a Leupold.

Go ahead, buy a Tasco. Let's see whose scope holds a zero (and It's reticles) longer.
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 7:58:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Schnert:
BusMaster007,

The mounting isn't everything. Internals often make or break a scope. Brass or steel? Sure, I knew a competitor who praised Trashco's... until he shot one for a season.

I'll put a Leupold up against a Tasco anyday.

I generally shoot with iron-sights. However, when I use a scope it's a Leupold.

Go ahead, buy a Tasco. Let's see whose scope holds a zero (and It's reticles) longer.



I'll second that! Before I could afford the Leupolds and Nikons, I broke 4 Tascos and one Bushnell under NORMAL range use with nothing higher than a 30-06.

CMJ, Check your mail!
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 8:04:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 8:05:03 PM EDT
Try a Weaver Grand Slam or target scope with the micro track adjustments, Burris, or Leupold.

Perhaps Sightron - I have seen some very good optics on their scopes, but there are spotty reports about durability and optical quality.

Check SWFA or Bear Basin for sale prices on optics - they will be hard to beat.

Old steel tube Weavers are fairly abundant for $65 to $250, depending on model and demand - these are very good for most purposes.

Best available - NightForce, hands down, but be prepared to spend over $1000.
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 8:14:20 PM EDT
my opinion,

best value for your money...

Leupold and IOR

in fact i think IOR's glass is better than most leupold's. nikon's not bad either, just get the monarch series (its the only one w/lifetime warranty i think)
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 8:19:14 PM EDT
For conventional scopes, Leupold or Nightforce.

Nikon a far runnerup, but still not bad.

For your stated use to 200 yds., and well beyond, have you considered a Trijicon ACOG?

Just my experience, YMMV. Good luck!
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 8:37:22 PM EDT
1. Leupold
2. Nikon
3. Pentax
4. Bushnell Elite 4200's

5. Simmons Aetec
I'd also rather go without than buy junk optics.
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 9:34:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Kevin:
A Weaver would be a nice, more affordable choice if the Nikon or Leupold's are bit too much for you.



Yup. The 'Grand Slam' series for comparison to Leupold.
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 9:47:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/3/2002 11:52:01 PM EDT
On an AR-15, I'd have to vote ACOG. The reticle and magnification is up to you. Beware though, as the eye relief is a little close for many.
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 3:54:50 AM EDT
by cmjohnson-
"So, I'm tired of blowing money on cheap scopes. What's a GOOD one for range duty at up to maybe 200 yards, for now? I'd like to keep it fairly inexpensive, but I will pay for a scope that doesn't suffer from the flaws I've mentioned.

Requirements: Mounts to A1 upper, via Weaver rings or integral mount. Capable of at least 4X magnification. Doesn't have to be variable. 6X fixed would probably be ideal for me. Must be stable, repeatable, and fairly rugged. Size is not an issue. Large or small, doesn't matter."


I'm thinking some folks are missing the point.
How it mounts to your rifle; power range; task it will perform, are your main requirements.

Leupold, NIKON, and a couple of others listed are higher priced, but not through the roof.
Your mount---well, that's what you've got, so it'll have to work with that.

I agree with the comments about 'trash' scopes and Leupolds.
Leupold is worth the money. How long do you wish to wait?
You may find a used scope, too. That's what I'd look for in this application.
The guys are right. There's no comparison in the end. A good scope is better than the trash, no doubt. I wasn't implying otherwise...

Link Posted: 3/4/2002 6:01:42 AM EDT
Thanks for the input, guys! It makes the job easier.

Yes, I'd want a Leupold on my rifle if I had the budget for any scope. I may spring for one anyway. The Nikon Monarch series will be investigated as well, and the other well-recommended models.

Years ago, I bought a pile of reloading equipment, and it included a 4x Weaver Marksman scope that went on the Marlin Golden 39A .22 lever action rifle. I recently reworked the mount (remove, clean, loctite the screws this time!) and that sucker is a better scope than either of the two I mentioned earlier, and a Marksman was a "cheap" scope for its day. Not a bad scope, though. Its zero never drifts and the image is bright and clear. It also gives you some leeway in terms of eye position.
Maybe I should just transfer that scope and see what happens? But then again, I like that scope on that rifle. With good ammo, you can
shoot all day at 100 yards and have just one ragged hole in the X ring to show for it.
It's a winner. I really should use that rifle in the next .22 match just for the heck of it.

Incidentally, I've seen used Marksman scopes priced at 75 to 100 dollars in some gun stores, and if they're in good shape, they're a better deal than the cheap scopes I've played with recently.

CJ
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 6:26:07 AM EDT
Buy an AimPoint with a forward carry handle mount. SUre it doen't have any magnification but you will be surprised how much better you shoot with one. It improved my groups increadibly and cost is less than $500 with mount, plus it is very rugged and cool looking.

sgtar15
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 7:58:44 AM EDT
The higher priced Swift scopes are actually pretty good. Even their cheaper scopes have some really good glass. Every one I have seen is made in Korea as opposed to China.

I have a $90 3x9 and a $150 3x9 with reticle locking system, and they have both performed flawlessly at the range.

A step up from the Swifts are the B&L (now relabeled Bushnell) Elite series. I have an Elite 4200 that I am pleased with.

I have also always heard good things about Burris scopes, but never owned one. Burris incidentally makes the scopes for the Pentax line.
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 9:29:53 AM EDT
l-e-u-p-o-l-d

With optics, its nice to have good customer service in the event that "something goes wrong." I have Burris and Leupolds, and while I have heard varying reports on Burris CustSvc, I have heard very little bad about Leupold's.

I am sure that the comparably priced Nikons, Pentaxes, B&Ls, Swifts etc. are as good, but with the Leupold, you know that customer service will be there and that the company isn't going anyplace.

Link Posted: 3/4/2002 9:39:50 AM EDT
After scrolling through the list, I was quite suprised to see that nobody mentioned Sightron scopes.

These suckers are super clear! I got a chance to compare them to the Leupold Varix II and a Nikon and the Sightron would give either a run for the money.

As far as price goes, it is almost equal to that of Leupold, but quality is equal as well.
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 9:53:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/4/2002 10:38:32 AM EDT by Waverunner]
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 10:36:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Waverunner:
Tasco Super Sniper. Best Bang for the buck, hands down. Get it at www.riflescopes.com/specials.html

Wanna go even cheaper than that and still have a great scope? ATN 5x33L

Both are very solid investments.



Wave, the link doesn't have the Tasco, I guess that promo is over and they've moved on.

Oh yeah, your car is a girlie colored car!
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 10:39:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 11:34:11 AM EDT
Given what you've written about your requirments..I think I would go with
the Leupold M8 6x42 with the 1 inch main tube..
For a low price I'd go to either www.sableco.net
email Donny for a best price quote dprisp223@cs.com
or check out Premier Reticles- great guys- very knowledgeable and you can get a custom reticle www.premierreticles.com/
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 11:56:56 AM EDT
http://www.burrisoptics.com

I own three Fullfield IIs and love them. I've owned a Leupold, I just prefer the Burris.
Link Posted: 3/4/2002 1:17:49 PM EDT
Unless you want to spend a lot of money on Zeiss or Swarovski, just stick with a Leupold. Every time I do otherwise, I regret it. Watch-Six
Link Posted: 3/5/2002 1:19:30 PM EDT
I really can't weigh in on this, my only two scoped rifles are a Ruger M77 .270 with a 2.5-7X Weaver that I bought together in 1977, and it's still a tack driver. Other is a POS Marlin semi-auto with a Simmons 3X9 that works just great when the gun actually shoots. I DO, however, have a question: Does anyone here have any experience with BSA scopes? Was eyeballing one of those for my AR. Would appreciate input.
Link Posted: 3/5/2002 1:32:31 PM EDT
I just ordered a Nikon Monarch 2-7X32 from D&R sports for $237.00,including 2nd day air. Everywhere else wanted $285-$330 just for the scope. D&R is always the cheapest.
Link Posted: 3/5/2002 1:39:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By gamesniper:
I really can't weigh in on this, my only two scoped rifles are a Ruger M77 .270 with a 2.5-7X Weaver that I bought together in 1977, and it's still a tack driver. Other is a POS Marlin semi-auto with a Simmons 3X9 that works just great when the gun actually shoots. I DO, however, have a question: Does anyone here have any experience with BSA scopes? Was eyeballing one of those for my AR. Would appreciate input.



I had a BSA on my Anschutz 64MP for about two weeks. I wanted to see if I could scrimp on the scope and ended up buying twice. It now wears a Sightron 6X24 Dot.

BSAs are worse than Tascos IMHO. I have owned both and still have a few Tascos on my rifles. I sold the BSA off.

Weaver offers the V16 4X16 and Natchez is blowing them out right now for $219 according to reports on Varminthunters.com.

I own two of thee and consider them fairly nice scopes with thus far repeatable tracking and decent clarity.

My best scope find so far has been Nikon. I went with a Monarch 6.5X20 for my 22BR and am damn impressed. Excellent clarity, dead nuts tracking and it looks great.
Link Posted: 3/5/2002 1:51:19 PM EDT
Ive got a Nikon Monarch 6.5-20x44 and everyone who has looked at it while Im at the range has been impressed at how good the optics are, even in late evening with daylight fading things look a lot brighter.
BKVic
Link Posted: 3/5/2002 1:55:16 PM EDT
Maynard: Thanks. Question pretty much answered. I became suspect when I noticed that nobody at the range I go to (and it's a HUGE range) ever has one on their rifles.
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 6:53:34 AM EDT
Be careful for what you wish for! You might spend $1500 plus for a nice Swarovski and not get the results you are now getting with your Leapers. IMHO your rifle is shooting as well as possible with your "cheap scope". Have fun with it and be happy....
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 7:48:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Waverunner:

Originally Posted By Minman72:

Originally Posted By Waverunner:
Tasco Super Sniper. Best Bang for the buck, hands down. Get it at www.riflescopes.com/specials.html

Wanna go even cheaper than that and still have a great scope? ATN 5x33L

Both are very solid investments.



Wave, the link doesn't have the Tasco, I guess that promo is over and they've moved on.

Oh yeah, your car is a girlie colored car!



Yeah, but I'm still faster no matter what you say!



Maybe because there's more MAN in the driver's seat in my car!

O NO HE DI INT!
Link Posted: 3/7/2002 7:50:02 AM EDT
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